Easter: the Resurrection of our Lord—the most amazing day in history. Yet when I was in Craiova, Romania on a mission trip a few years ago, the entire city was decorated with Easter bunnies and eggs. Not one cross was in sight! It’s the same way here—we just don’t decorate the country quite to that extent.
But we do see it when we walk down the aisle at WalMart or our favorite department store. Of course, it’s the same way at Christmas, Santa Claus instead of manger scenes. Don’t get me wrong. I love both chocolate and peppermint, so I ’m a fan of chocolate eggs and candy canes. I just wonder what’s wrong with us that we seem to have our priorities so mixed up, we can’t display our faith with the same intensity as we give Santa and a bunny.
Easter should be a time to reflect on what Jesus did for us. That particular Holy week was a busy one for Him. Palm Sunday, just seven days before, He was at the pinnacle of His popularity. He rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt. Did you know that when a king rode into a city on a donkey it meant he brought an offer of peace? Riding a horse meant war. Jesus is our peace.
That day the people shouted, “Hosanna, blessed is the Kind who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Luke 19:38) They spread their coats and palm branches at His feet as He passed. He proceeded to the temple, where He turned over the money-changers tables and drove out the thieving sellers to cleanse the temple for Him to teach in over the next few days. It would be His last chance to say all the things we so desperately needed to hear. Things like the fact that His death wasn’t the end. And it’s not the end for us either. That little is much when God is in it. That we must be ready for His return.
But by Thursday, the Sanhedrin was so incensed, they were determined He had to die. Judas Iscariot was already enlisted to betray Jesus. When we’re betrayed, isn’t it helpful to know that our Lord knows exactly what we’re going through? All Judas needed was a time and place away from the multitudes who followed Jesus everywhere hoping for a miracle. When he learned Jesus was going to the Garden of Gethsemane after that last meal with the disciples, he knew he had Him. How could he do it? Don’t you ever just wonder? But I’ve seen first-hand the destruction people can wreak on those they supposedly love. So although I can’t understand it, I have no trouble at all believing it.
A night of trials, scourging, humiliation and pain ensued for Jesus, culminating on a bloody, miserable time hanging naked on a cross. Even there though, for the most part, His thoughts were on those around, the thieves He was crucified between, His mother, even the centurion who guarded Him and recognized Him for Who He was as He suffered and died. Only in those last moments did He cry for Himself, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” The Trinity, the Three-in-One was literally split apart at that moment as the Father placed the judgment for our sins on his already ravaged body. No wonder His heart burst and poured out separated blood and water. That’s the agony He couldn’t stand. “It is finished!” He cried, as He yielded up His Spirit to death.
Salvation’s work was done on Friday! That’s the day He paid the price for our sins. That’s the day our sin was forgiven. So, why do we need Easter? Why don’t we just celebrate Good Friday and let Easter be all about the bunny?
Because that’s the day that proves Jesus was Who He said He was, that He had lived a perfect life, and died, not for His own sins, but for ours. That’s the day that proves He was neither liar nor lunatic, but Lord of all Creation, worthy of our praise, worthy of adoration, and worthy of a life that’s crucified into His death, burial, and resurrection.
This Easter, let it not be all about the bunny. Let it be about our Savior. Can we not give Him at least that much?
Taboo Tuesday Question of the Day: What’s your favorite Easter memory?